1636: The Ottoman Onslaught – Snippet 19

1636: The Ottoman Onslaught – Snippet 19

Jeff and Gretchen had done the same thing — which Jeff, at least, often felt guilty about. Gretchen… not so much, possibly because her bona fides as a surrogate mother were so well established.

For the whole year they’d been out of the country before and during the Baltic War, their children had been taken care of by Gretchen’s grandmother Veronica. Then, after they got back and Veronica made it crystal clear that she was done with babysitting, they still had plenty of caregivers in the big apartment complex they moved into in Magdeburg.

The children were left entirely in the hands of caregivers after Jeff went off to war and Gretchen moved to Dresden. It hadn’t been until the crisis was over — not more than two months ago — that she’d gone back to Magdeburg to fetch their two boys and bring them back to stay with her. The adopted children had remained behind, since they were much older and all of them by now had settled into work or education situations they didn’t want to change. The only one of the original group who would have been young enough to come with her, little Johann, had been joyously reclaimed by his natural family a couple of years earlier.

From here on in, hopefully, things would settle down. Jeff and Gretchen had discussed the matter — along with a number of CoC leaders — and everyone had agreed that Gretchen would stay in Dresden rather than moving back to Magdeburg. Willi and Joe would now be raised mostly by their mother, with their father helping out whenever he wasn’t on active duty.

And now, it seemed, another child might be added to the mix. Gretchen’s reaction to the news hadn’t been quite a relaxed shrug, but pretty close. Jeff was doing his best to take his cue from her. And… having only middling success. There was a part of his brain — he thought of it as the part labeled “raised on too many up-time anxieties and touchie-feelie TV talk shows” — that kept shrilling at him: Bad parent! Bad parent! Your children will grow up to be drug addicts, derelicts, serial murderers and hedge fund managers!

To Jeff’s surprise, the same courier he’d sent out now came racing back. More time must have passed than he’d realized, while he was musing on things gone by and things still to come. Looking around, he saw that the regiment had indeed made a fair amount of forward progress. It was easy to lose track of exactly how far you’d gotten when you were in the middle of an army on the march.

“The general says we will continue toward Ingolstadt,” said the courier.

That was the answer Jeff had expected. There’d been a meeting of the Third Division staff and regimental commanders before the march began, where Stearns had explained that he intended to threaten to close on Ingolstadt from the east along the south bank of the Danube, while General Heinrich Schmidt and the SoTF’s National Guard closed in from the north. Hopefully, the maneuver would force the Bavarians to abandon the city rather than run the risk of being encircled and trapped in a siege. Both Stearns and Schmidt thought there was a good chance of success, since Duke Maximilian had to be mostly concerned now with holding Munich.

The courier reached into his coat and pulled out a letter. It was just a small sheet of paper folded twice and sealed with a blob of wax. General Stearns must have received the letter and given to the courier to bring to Jeff.

Even before he opened it, Jeff was sure it had to be from Gretchen. No military communication would be sent in this manner.

Sure enough. The message was short and to the point.

Yes. If it’s a girl, we name her Veronica. You pick a boy’s name.

Above Ingolstadt

“Head for the nearest hedgehog pit, Stefano,” Tom Simpson ordered, pointing down and a bit to the left. The sky was mostly overcast but there was plenty of light. Those didn’t look like rain clouds; they certainly didn’t indicate a storm front.

Having made two runs over Ingolstadt already, in both of which they’d been fired upon with no serious damage resulting, Stefano was a lot more relaxed than he had been before. He still wasn’t what anyone would call nerveless and steely-eyed, but he managed to keep his twitching to a minimum and he didn’t fudge on the steering — he headed straight for the nearest hedgehog pit.

Which… didn’t fire on them at all. It wasn’t until they passed almost straight overhead that the reason became apparent: the guns were gone. The rails on which the gun carriages would have rested remained in place, and somethingfurniture? logs? — was covered with canvas. But as an active and functioning anti-airship emplacement, the hedgehog had been gutted.

“It worked,” Tom said, his voice full of satisfaction. “They’re pulling out. Stefano, head for the bridge across the Danube.”

As the airship veered to the south, Tom examined the city below them through his binoculars. In particular, he was looking to see what had happened to the four ten-inch naval rifles that he, Eddie Cantrell and Heinrich Schmidt had spent a truly miserable three months hauling across Germany a year and a half earlier. The guns had been removed from the wreck of the ironclad Monitor with the purpose of using them against Maximilian of Bavaria in case a siege of Munich developed. In the event, the Bavarian issue had taken a back seat to more pressing conflicts and the guns had wound up being left in Ingolstadt for later use. They’d been there when Ingolstadt was retaken by Bavaria thanks to the treachery of the 1st Battalion. Tom had been forced to leave them behind when he led the surviving loyal troops out of the city on their four-day march to Regensburg. They hadn’t even had time to salvage the artillery unit’s 12-pounders, much less the enormous naval guns.

But now, it seemed, they were going to get them back — or two of them, at any rate. Tom could see the two rifles that had been positioned on the north wall to face Schmidt’s SoTF forces. But when he looked for the two rifles that the Bavarians had positioned to cover the Danube…

“Gone,” he muttered. “I was afraid of that.”

Captain von Eichelberg was standing right next to him, close enough to hear. “They can’t possibly get those guns down to Munich,” he said, frowning.

Tom lowered the binoculars and shook his head. “No, they wouldn’t have even tried. I’m sure they spiked them and then pitched them — well, rolled them, more likely — into the river. We should be able to salvage them, but it’ll take some time.”

He turned to the radio operator, who was standing a few feet away. “Make contact with General Schmidt. And then I’ll want to speak to General Stearns.”

 

This entry was posted in 1632Snippet, Snippets. Bookmark the permalink.
Skip to top

Comments

15 Responses to 1636: The Ottoman Onslaught – Snippet 19

  1. dave o says:

    How powerful is the Butterfly’s breeze. Sultan Murad IV died uptime of cirrhosis in 1640 according to Wikipedia. He was notorious for gluttony and drunkenness, so it seems to me unlikely that he would live longer downtime. He was succeed by his brother Ibrahim I who was the only living member of Ottoman line. Ibrahim was more or less insane, and became insaner as he aged. Considering the instability of the Turkish polity, I think that, assuming the Austrians survive the loss of Vienna, that they will be able to retake it soon after the death of Murad, and with more modern weapons, courtesy of the USE, go on to recover Hungary, and maybe the Danubian principalities, or the Balkans.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      ” I think that, assuming the Austrians survive the loss of Vienna, that they will be able to retake it soon after the death of Murad, and with more modern weapons, courtesy of the USE, go on to recover Hungary, and maybe the Danubian principalities, or the Balkans.”

      That’s… possible, but still a long shot. Austria will surely lose to the Ottoman occupation all of their Hungary – fact. They would be battared, bloodied and beatean with smaller powerbase. The Turks have both the numbers and more or less “modern” weapons.

      So, yes – Austria might retake all those lands. Sometime. Somehow. Not in the immediate future, though.

      As for Murad IV – there is a strong suspicion that he was “helped” get his ticket to the Paradise with 72 houris – by his mother, no less.

      • dave o says:

        With an incoming Sultan of limited sanity, and all the various factions of the Turkish polity, despite its size and potential power, it’s likely to suffer from periods of instability, and outright anarchy. The Danubian principalities, even if theoretically subject to Turkey are more or less in a continual state of revolt. Poland, still powerful, is a likely enemy. Hungary is unlikely to be a comfortable possession. And to the East, the Safavids are due to get a strong Shah, Abbas II. and are no friends to the Turks.

        And to the West, the Austrians are likely to get strong support from the USE, and perhaps Bohemia.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          “With an incoming Sultan of limited sanity, and all the various factions of the Turkish polity, despite its size and potential power, it’s likely to suffer from periods of instability, and outright anarchy. “

          All true. But- so what? You are dealing with the Ottoman Empire here. Emprie. Enormous military-administrative machine that keeps going no matter who is in charge – a drunk, or an idiot or even new incarnation of Caligula. Taxes will be collected and armies will be marching, conquering what they are ordered to conquer.

          “Hungary is unlikely to be a comfortable possession.”

          It never will be. Ergo – mass slave-taking of the locals, heavy garrisons and annihilation of all who dares to revolt. Even if (if, not when) Austrians somehow manage to retake “their” Hungary they will end up with devastated province, meaning – mass impoverishment of Hungarian nobles (who were just made equal to their Austrian counterparts). Imagine the level of tensions between these two “pillars” of newly formed A-H Empire in years to come. And, btw – there were Hungarian nobles serving the Sublime Porte willingly a-plenty, either because they wanted to keep their lands safe or because they really, really hated Austrians. Quite a number of them were Calvinists. So far, I’ve read nothing about A-H relaxing its religious attitudes and making “toleration” something more than a joke.

          The Danubian principalities, even if theoretically subject to Turkey are more or less in a continual state of revolt. Poland, still powerful, is a likely enemy.

          Absolutely irrelevant. Moldavia and Valachia are too little to be of any importance. PLC has its hand full for decades to come.

          “And to the West, the Austrians are likely to get strong support from the USE, and perhaps Bohemia.”

          I really doubt that USE and Vallenstein will really help A-H to retake all of its territory from the Ottomans. In the best case scenario – a valiant stand on Danube of “You shall not pass!” variety, so that Ottomans army vanguard won’t get greedy and invade Bohemia.

          And the rest of Europe? No one cares. There are a lot of interesting things happening already.

          P.S. Whatever Ibrahim I mental… condition, he still has very capable Kemankeş Kara Mustafa Pasha as his Grand Vizier, Albanian Janissary vet, who raised through the ranks, in 1635 OTL became the Grand Admiral of the Navy, and was appointed (again – OTL) the Grand Vizier in 1638. I bet, that’s him who will be Murad’s Dragon in the Austrian campaign.

          • dave o says:

            The Janissaries have already begun to be a praetorian guard. deposing Sultans they didn’t like. Members of the bureaucracy are plotting against the Grand Vizier, and uptime they succeeded in getting Koprulu dismissed and strangled. Governors of provinces were thinking of rebellion or were in rebellion. In fact the strength of the Ottomans depends on having a strong Sultan and/or a strong Grand Vizier.

            • Lyttenburgh says:

              “The Janissaries have already begun to be a praetorian guard. deposing Sultans they didn’t like… “

              So – business as usual? ;)

              All what you say is true, but, at the moment, it doesn’t matter. Empires, even declining ones like Spanish or the Ottoman one here, are still too powerful and it takes literally centuries and constant efforts to bring them down.

              Right now this means that for at least a decade A-H (or what remains of it) is screwed. Vienna will fall, possibly even destroyed. Hungary will be lost, as well as remaining coastal provinces. Turks will hold onto these new conquests for a considerable time making Austrians and remaining Hungarian loyalists bleed for every tract of land re-conquered. The Ottoman empire is to stay for a long, long time.

          • doug says:

            While the USE army may or may not be a game changer in ground combat Austria/Hungary, a squadron or fleet of USE ironclads dropping shells on the Topkapi Palace would tend to short circuit the later stages of the fighting. Another thing to remember. The island of Corfu is an approx 980 mile round trip to Istanbul which is well within the range of some of the airships in service. This island is and would remain a domain of Venice until Napoleon’s time.

            • Joseph Arnaud says:

              ‘range of some of the airships in service.’

              ‘of course they might have to fight the ottoman airships if they tried that, I am wondering if the airships over Bavaria is there partially to foreshadow an aerial duel between Ottoman and USE airship forces ( wondering = hopeing)

            • Lyttenburgh says:

              “While the USE army may or may not be a game changer in ground combat Austria/Hungary, a squadron or fleet of USE ironclads dropping shells on the Topkapi Palace would tend to short circuit the later stages of the fighting.”

              Yeah… onle there are no ironclads to spare and no new ones are currently in construction. To sail (safely!) from Baltic to Mediterrenean (passing along the coast of such “freindly” to the USE counties as France, England AND Spain) is not a easy feat of power projection. Have you thought about logistics involved?

              Better idea would be to do what was done in the OTL – prop Venice and its fleet and let them do all naval fighting.

              • doug says:

                The USE could easily transfer know-how to the Doge’s forces. As far as sending vessels from the Baltic to the Bosphorus, that is mostly logistics and time since nothing the Catholic nations have can stop the USN and the English navy can barely weigh anchors.

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                “The USE could easily transfer know-how to the Doge’s forces.”

                1) Will they? USE is not a charity, and even if (at the momemnt) The Republic is friendly to them giving away sensetive information (that later might be used by USE’s enemies) is not wise.

                2) Which”know-hows” exactly? How to make Ironcalads? Well, that’s more a question of industrial capacity and resources. There is a reason why the USE stopped building them – they run out of railroad steel.

                3) “nothing the Catholic nations have can stop the USN and the English navy can barely weigh anchors.”

                Maybe. At the bare minimum they will delay them and prey on supply ships. At the moment (according to the 1636: Commander Cantrell) there are 2 “new model destroyers” deployed in West Indies, and, probably, twice that number in the Baltic. Still, they would depend on other, older ships to serve as escorts and cargo transports.

                And this is assuming that such order (i.e. to deploy in Med) will be given – but this requires the state of war with the Ottomans in the first place. Even if given, deployment would take time – we are speaking weeks here. This will also would require a formal permit from Venice to use their ports for the fleet, which, of course, would immediately draw the Republic into the war anyway.

              • Drak Bibliophile says:

                The biggest problem in sending Ironclads down would be “how well would the Ironclads take the English Channel and the Atlantic”.

                IIRC these Ironclads would have major problem in rough seas.

              • doug says:

                If the vessels sent were the first Madgeburg built monitors, they WOULD have problems getting there. A ocean capable steamer could use the Civil War expedient of hulls draped in anchors chains or their equivalent. The USS Kearsarge went into battle against the CSS Alabama so draped. Two shells from Alabama’s 32 pdr guns hit the armored area. Both broke the chain but did no significant damage. The Ottoman’s artillery would be quite a bit less effective at any more than point blank range.
                Travel time to reach Istanbul from Hamburg, not counting weather, supply stops or interference by other countries is as follows: at 6kts=23 days, 17 hours; 8 kts=17 d 19 h; 10 kts=14 d, 5 h; 12 kts=11 d, 21 h. This means that an attack on Istanbul wouldn’t instantly stop the war which is why I posted “short circuit the later stages of the fighting.”
                Any vessels from Venice, with reinforcement, might be able to be converted into Korean-style Turtle Ships which may have been the world’s first (partial) ironclads.
                This war looks to be a long one. What I proposed is something to act on in late 1636 or 1637, while the book starts in April 1636.

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                “This means that an attack on Istanbul wouldn’t instantly stop the war”

                No, it won’t.

  2. Tweeky says:

    I think long-term TTL the invasion by the Turks will accelerate the decline of their empire in Europe hopefully leading to their complete expulsion from Europe including Eastern Thrace and Constantinople.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.